I really can’t stand the sound of yelling in my home; unless something is on fire, there really is no need to yell. I am not talking about being loud here; there are plenty of good reasons to be loud. Tickle wars, a regularly scheduled event in my home, are generally loud. I believe in tickling and all the noisy giggles associated with that activity. I do not, however, believe that we should yell at each other in anger. Anger is a human emotion – an entirely real one and a challenge to avoid at times. It is not realistic to believe that anger can be completely avoided; it IS realistic to believe that anger can be controlled. It’s all about choices! I want everyone in my family to choose to control their anger by not yelling, myself included. Yes, as much as I despise yelling in the home, I have done my fair share. I am of German-Irish descent and thus come with a temperament and a set of lungs fully equipped to yell. 😉 Not to mention the fact that I have three boys – this alone can give a woman many reasons to yell! For example: “why the heck are you standing on top of the TV with a jar of peanut butter?!” This statement says more about my home life than I would like it to:
1) my children behave like animals;
2) I sometimes yell at my kids; and
3) we are still rockin’ the tube television.
While I have high hopes of making changes to statements #1 and #3, right now the only thing I have the power to change is #2. I do not need to yell at my kids.
Please let me introduce you to my new friend the Orange Rhino. Starting January 22, 2014, our family will begin the Orange Rhino Challenge. This is a challenge to stop yelling and to become more peaceful like a rhino (unfortunately, this is not what I mean when I say that my children behave like animals.) My little sister introduced me to this blog in which a mother of four boys decides not to yell at her kids for 365 days. “Rhinos are tenacious and vigorous animals who are naturally peaceful, but display aggressive behavior when provoked.” This mommy blogger continues to explain that, as a natural rhino of sorts, she would need a little more warmth and energy to remain peaceful; so, she embraced the color orange. Suddenly, everything orange became a reminder not to yell: orange napkins at the dinner table, orange bracelets, and even orange clothing on her children became a reminder of her commitment not to yell.
The Orange Rhino gives some wonderful pointers on how to get started on such a challenge. She recommends that you yell into the toilet or into the freezer instead of yelling at your kids. She tells you to break into the hokey-pokey or do a somersault when you feel like yelling. These things will make you feel a little ridiculous and entirely silly, but you will find that you no longer feel the need to yell. She also uses “at least” statements to keep her emotions in check; for example, if your child empties a box of Cheerios onto your living room floor you can say to yourself “at least it wasn’t a gallon of milk.” If they pour a gallon of milk onto the floor, “at least it wasn’t a gallon of bleach.” I believe it is hugely important to teach our children that such behavior is totally unacceptable, but I also believe the “at least” statement will allow me to calm my rage and collect my thoughts before I react. It is so much more effective to communicate such teachings without the yelling.
I have placed a quote from a brilliant talk by Thomas S. Monson around my home to remind me how important it is not to yell. “Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything.” I have also placed a few orange rhino reminders around my home as friendly reminders to keep my cool; a little rhino peeking back at me from my bathroom mirror may be enough to remind me to start the day with more love and less yelling.
In the days leading up to our start date, I have been using this chart from the Orange Rhino to track my triggers. I am always trying not to yell, but I am not always mindful of the circumstances that regularly cause me to lose my temper. It is clear that my own lack of sleep and/or lack of chocolate may have much to do with it. For now, I am heading to the store for some orange nail polish, stopping by the Archiver’s store closing sale to grab some orange card stock, and picking up a bag of orange M&Ms from Mass Street Sweet Shoppe. When embarking on a challenge such as this, it is important to be well-equipped. 😉
I would love to have some readers join me on this challenge. We are going to start with a 30-day challenge and take it from there. Feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page and let me know about your desire to be an orange rhino and what you do to keep from flipping your lid. By the end of February, we hope to report that our home is full of peaceful orange rhinos rather than TV-climbing baboons!
Go you all! Love the orange paper with the quote! Good luck. You can do this!!1
A huge thank you for supporting Kansas CIty moms in our efforts to Yell Less and LOVE MORE. Thank you for your inspiration, your dedication, and your motivation.
We will be sure to post updates regarding our progress on our Facebook page.
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